A federal lawsuit seeking at least $30 million has been filed against the trucking company that employed a driver whose vehicle struck and killed a woman who was parked on the shoulder of the roadway on Interstate 95 in December 2016.
The amended wrongful death lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in New Haven, maintains that Illinois-based MGR Freight Services should be held responsible for the actions of its driver, Nicolae Marcu, who lives in New Hampshire. The original lawsuit filed last years cites Marcu as one of the defendants, while the lawsuit filed this week seeks compensation from the company. The original lawsuit is still pending.
Ashley Ferguson Jones, 31, was killed instantly after she got out of her car on the side of the road to check on her then-1-year-old daughter, who was feeling ill, according to Kelly Reardon, attorney for Jones’ estate.
“The reason for the accident was, in all likelihood, inattentiveness.” said Reardon, a partner with the New London-based The Reardon Law Firm. “Mr. Marcu crossed into the shoulder and struck her. It’s not exactly clear how the accident occurred because Mr. Marcu had pleaded the Fifth until sentencing. We still do not know his version of events.”
Marcu, who lost control of his tractor-trailer and went down an embankment after striking Jones, was charged with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle and failure to drive in a proper lane. He is out on bail and is awaiting sentencing, which is tentatively set for Jan. 16.
In addition to her daughter, Jones’ husband, Marshall Jones, was also in the car at the time of the accident. The couple’s son, now 7, was not in the vehicle at the time.
“This has been just devastating to the family. The family was very close,” Reardon told the Connecticut Law Tribune Wednesday. “Marshall Jones has moved in with his parents because it’s been so horrific to deal with the situation on his own. The family is very involved with their church, and that has provided some solace to them.”
Reardon said she spoke to Marshall Jones, who works for the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, last week. “He feels there should be justice for what occurred with his wife and that her life was taken far too soon,” Reardon said.
While the couple’s young daughter was only 1 at the time of accident, Reardon said it’s possible she could also be traumatized.
“It’s too early to tell if she has trauma,” Reardon said. “But, studies have shown that, even at a young age, children can have lifelong effects from trauma.”
In addition to seeking $30 million in compensatory damages, the amended lawsuit also seeks an undetermined amount of punitive damages, double and triple damages as allowed by law and attorneys’ fees.
The trucking company is represented by three Hartford attorneys: Larry Connelli of Regnier, Taylor, Curran & Eddy; Christopher Wossler of Howd & Ludorf; and Kevin Kratzer of Boyle Shaughnessy Law. None of the attorneys responded to a request for comment Wednesday and neither did MGR Freight Services.